Sports

Blasberg ’18: 76ers vs. Kentucky

By
Sports Columnist
Sunday, November 30, 2014

Last week, I was watching ESPN in the Ratty for a few passing moments during lunch. Before I scrambled to English class, I heard Colin Cowherd ask who would win a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, and it got me wondering.

This year’s 76ers are, for lack of a better term, terrible. They have lost their first 16 games — a franchise record — and are four losses away from having the worst start in NBA history. In losing these games, the 76ers have been on the low side of some of the most lopsided scores I have ever seen in professional basketball. During the skid, they have lost by margins of 32, 53, 25 and 26 points. Even teams that are struggling at the bottom of their divisions know that they have a guaranteed win against the 76ers.

Philadelphia’s roster lacks the depth and experience necessary to compete at the NBA level. Half of its lineup is made up of undrafted players, while the other half was mostly picked up in the late rounds of the draft. For the 76ers, having seven undrafted players is absurd. Last season, the Celtics tried three undrafted players, which was considered a lot, and only one, Phil Pressey, was productive enough to play for them this season.

The 76ers only have two players — Jason Richardson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute — who are older than 25, and of the 12 players that competed in Saturday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, only Mbah a Moute has more than two years of NBA experience. Despite the consistent play of their lottery players, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, the 76ers’ roster is far too spotty to be competitive in the NBA.

As much as the Philadelphia 76ers have been struggling, John Calipari’s University of Kentucky Wildcats have been rolling. They have won each of their first seven games in spectacular fashion, scoring more than double their opponents’ points in three games already. The Wildcats routed the 11th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks 72-40 — 11 Kentucky players contributed points, while the team held Kansas to just 12 points in the second half. Kansas has historically been one of the premier basketball schools in the country, and this season is no exception. The margin of Kentucky’s victory simply shows how dominant it is this year.

This year’s Kentucky Wildcats have talent unique to college basketball. Draft experts forecast that two Wildcats, Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns, will be drafted in the top 10 in this year’s draft and another five players will go in the first round. Larry Brown, coach of the Southern Methodist University basketball team, told USA Today that if Kentucky split up its first and second teams, it would still have the best and second-best teams in the nation.

Despite Kentucky’s success so far, the 76ers would win a head-to-head matchup. The disparity between the level of play in college and in the NBA is too great, and Kentucky has only competed against five players in the top hundred draft prospects, all of whom came from Kansas.

While the 76ers still haven’t won a game, the return of a healthy Michael Carter-Williams brought them close Saturday to beating the Mavericks, who are just two games out of the lead in the Western Conference. The 76ers can physically outmatch the Wildcats, leading to open shots and second-chance opportunities. Though Kentucky is one of the deepest and most talented college teams ever and the 76ers are having a historically bad season, a healthy 76ers team could fend off the Wildcats.

Charlie Blasberg ’18 (5’ 8”, 160) was one of the 76ers’ top draft prospects out of high school.

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  • really?

    There’s absolutely no substance to this article at all. Only one sentence offers any semblance of sports analysis: “The 76ers can physically outmatch the Wildcats, leading to open shots and second-chance opportunities.”

    Is that really all you have to offer on this tired topic? Next time don’t just regurgitate facts about each team that a 10 second Google search could yield and spend more time on the topic: the 76ers vs. the Wildcats. For instance, how do they match up at each position? Bench depth? I might have spent more time writing this comment than you did this on this “article.”

    I’ll admit I laughed at your self description, though.

    • puzzled

      I just don’t get it… why are some of these comments on the bdh so caustic and harsh?